Freelance work and the perfect storm

This is a collaborative post. 

Working from home isn’t for everyone. It’s one of those things that people think they want to do, but the reality of living the dream can be quite different. So, how do you end up as someone who sits in bed on a Sunday morning working on a laptop? There are a few factors, some positive and others not so great. You might call it the perfect storm.

The perfect storm of freelance work - bolts of lightening against a dark sky

Work ethic

Not so long ago, I was chatting to a client about remote working. He works in an environment where everyone is predominantly office based. People have the opportunity to work remotely occasionally, but he finds that their productivity level drops at home.

This really surprised me, but I do appreciate that it’s not for everyone. His colleagues are all quite young, and I suppose working from home is looked upon as a treat – and an opportunity. In the office, they’re all incredibly diligent. But at home, there are naturally more distractions. It’s part of the reason why I often work in a coffee shop.

So you want to be a successful business person. You've heard that it's tough at the top. You have to be ruthless. Cutthroat. A shrewd player. Forget it. Be friendly, the people you look after will want to help you to succeed.

There’s even an app these days to allow people to share home-working spaces. This may seem counterintuitive – after all if you want to work away from home, why not work in an office? But I understand the logic. Working from home is about the flexibility to work when it suits you. Working away from the house and with others provides two essential ingredients – company and accountability.

It’s so easy to ‘just quickly’ do something that needs doing around the house. Or put the laptop down and pick up the phone to mess about on Instagram. Or of course, be tempted away by something tasty in the fridge. Being away from home or around other people for a few hours a week can increase productivity and decrease loneliness. Did I mention it can get quite lonely being on your own all day every day?

Necessity

For me, this is the major factor in home working. When I had Libby, I went back to work when she was just three months old. It was horrendous. I couldn’t go part time and commuted for over an hour each day. I was only able to work from home one day a week and the business wouldn’t be flexible and allow me more. So, it wasn’t long before I found something else – working from home.

By the time Lia came along, I was working freelance. I took on anything that would pay the bills. Audiotyping, writing, social media management. Then my husband had an accident and the amount of time I could dedicate to it dropped dramatically. His injuries were complicated. A broken leg that wouldn’t heal, not due to medical negligence but simply the nature of the injury. And for around 12 months, finding time to work was tough.

Looking back, it was the most difficult of times. But the saying “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” was definitely true for me. Through necessity, I found work I could do at times to suit me. Enough to pay the bills but not so much that I was up all hours to get it done. And I learnt to focus, despite everything else that was going on – or maybe because of it.

An inflexible employer, two demanding children, two dogs and a husband who was as much use as a chocolate teapot. A frustrating combination but when it came to making freelancing work for me, it was my perfect storm.

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This is a collaborative post but all views, opinions and strange magnetic attraction to the fridge when I'm working at home are my own.

6 Comments

  1. June 17, 2018 / 3:12 pm

    This sums up exactly why I work from home. I was a teacher, in life before kids, but when our second came along I realised I spent more time with other people’s kids than my own – not to mention the cost of full time childcare for three kids at one point. It is hard though to get motivated at times, when there are so many distractions. I have looked into shared working spaces around here, for when Ben starts school, but there doesn’t seem to be any sadly. Looks like my local coffee shop will be seeing a lot more of me next year!

    • monsterid June 17, 2018 / 3:22 pm

      I am hoping that the shared working app will take off. Apparently it’s mostly London at the moment but there must be others local to us in the same situation. It’s just finding them!
      Nat.x

  2. June 19, 2018 / 8:15 pm

    My husband sometimes remotes in and finds the distractions much harder – I guess he isn’t used to them. Then there’s the he will still get paid the same no matter how hard he works at home/that I can just say I am not going to take on extra work.

    • monsterid June 19, 2018 / 8:42 pm

      Yes that’s true, it does make a difference if you still get paid the same amount anyway I think. I probably wouldn’t work much at home if I didn’t have to do it in order to get paid 😉
      Nat.x

  3. July 5, 2018 / 5:47 pm

    Hi Nat, you’ve worked hard and did what needed to be done. You’ve done yourself proud and are a brilliant role model to your girls. I do get to work from home a fair bit too, but when I’m working, I’m working and everyone knows it and leaves me alone. Maybe not getting distracted is an age thing as I find I tend to get more done at home than if I’m in the office… Unless I am alone in the office first thing, then I find I can cruise through getting things done.

    xx

    • monsterid July 25, 2018 / 2:58 pm

      Ahh thank you, so kind of you to say. I do hope I can get to a point where people leave me alone when I’m working!!
      Nat.x

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